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Ishan Shapiro

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I'm happy to announce that we've launched a mapping in initiative with +OuiShare! OuiShare is a global community and think and do-tank. Their mission is to build and nurture a collaborative society by connecting people, organizations and ideas around fairness, openness and trust.

OuiShare activities consist of building community, producing knowledge and incubating projects around the topics of communities and the collaborative economy, as well as offering support to individuals and organizations through professional services and education.

The Ouishare Metamaps initiative will create a community, crowd-sourced knowledge graph using the open-source sensemaking platform It is a way for people to find and connect with relevant projects, reveal hidden and implicit cross-community connections, and synthesize insights about the collaborative economy ecosystem that can help to inform decision-making and collaborative action.

If you would like to get involved as a knowledge weaver or get to know more about the initiative, let us know!

Thanks to +Auli K +Francesca Pick +Khushboo Balwani  +Jocelyn Ibarra at OuiShare for your advocacy and support of this initiative!

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A great post from +Alberto Cottica on how +EdgeRyders can act as an engine of collective intelligence. Alberto brings together several different important concepts here. He proposes this:

"I think we (Edgeryders) are on our way to becoming the first-ever community to develop its own collective intelligence based on a proper data strategy."

I don't know if I would consider Edgeryders to be the first ever community to develop collective intelligence based on a proper data strategy (that's a large claim!), however there are very few communities who have ventured into this territory. What they're doing is quite innovative and I fully support the direction they're heading in. That is to say, the acknowledgment of the importance of a coherent strategy to deal with the evolution of data and knowledge of a community, and the development of platforms and tools which implement that strategy to support the growth, learning and evolution of that community.

Alberto mentions the importance of structuring the knowledge that's generated by the community around these issues. He describes it as 'ethnographic coding', a technique for qualitative evaluation and research. The result of this ethnographic coding, in this case, being an emerging categorization system of the types of knowledge contributions on the platform that can better enable insights, synthesis and narratives to emerge.

What results from this structured knowledge are new ways to orient, nagivate and explore the knowledge generated by the community. By feeding this back to the community of Edgeryders in different ways, they open the potential to bootstrap their ability to coordinate activities, route opportunities to where its more relevant, identify specific expertise within the community, and collaborate more effectively. 

There is much crossover between this effort and perspective that Alberto shares about the evolution of Edgeryders and our work with, not only from a semantic or linked data perspective, or the qualitative tagging and categorization of knowledge, but the deeper intention to empower communities through the development of a healthy knowledge ecosystem.

A knowledge ecosystem is defined as "an approach to knowledge management which claims to foster the dynamic evolution of knowledge interactions between entities to improve decision-making and innovation through improved evolutionary networks of collaboration." (wikipedia)

Though this language is a bit dense and can be unfamiliar, the content is key - put in other language we could say that communities are social organisms - they're living and breathing, they change direction, they evolve, they grow and change - and so does our knowledge. As we interact, these atoms of knowledge bond, link, merge with one another, and our collective knowledge evolves. By growing and learning with one another in both physical and virtual collaborative spaces, we can innovate and address challenges together. That's because we have created an environment which is conducive to increasing the capacity of our communities to navigate  complexity in its myriad forms.  A healthy knowledge ecosystem enables a community's culture to evolve, become more adaptive, and more resilient.

 The next paragraph of the definition addresses knowledge ecosystems as an emergence-based approach to knowledge management:

"In contrast to purely directive management efforts that attempt either to manage or direct outcomes, knowledge ecosystems espouse that knowledge strategies should focus more on enabling self-organization in response to changing environments."

I have been a part of quite a few decentralized and distributed communities looking to bring ideas and knowledge to action. A major stumbling block in every single one has been fragmented knowledge, which Alberto mentions at the end of his post. When we spread the conversation across multiple platforms, some of which may not have open data or limited APIs, means that we're less empowered to bootstrap our own learning and evolution. The strength of a distributed community often is co-dependent to an extent on the health of the collaborative knowledge ecosystem which they are a part of, especially when doing a large amount of work in the virtual.

Organizing collaboratively generated knowledge, keeping coherence and momentum within conversations, sense-making complexity, and dealing with nonlinearity are all challenges that we face in this work. Platforms that encourage and engender sensemaking of issues, collaborative evaluation of ideas and synthesis and are key to the health of knowledge ecosystems - hopefully towards enabling what Francis Heylighen of the Global Brain Institute would call a "meta-system transition" - the emergence, through evolution, of a higher level of self-organization.

Alberto and +Matthias Ansorg (and others!) are working on building both a culture and community which can result in an expanded capacity for 'making sense' of the complexity of issues as well as the social dynamics of collaboration and the evolution of their own culture. In their work is reflected the essential need for tools and platforms that leverage qualitative knowledge categorization, structured data, analysis, and collaboration - things those of us who are actively building are also incredibly passionate about.  We look forward to seeing what other insights come out of Edgeryders in this direction. 

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This last weekend +Marija Coneva +Connor Turland and I organized a hackathon/dev sprint for at the Felt Lab, an interactive technology space in Waterloo that has served us as our temporary office and workspace while we've been here. We made great progress on advancing the Metamaps mobile app (hint hint: rich media uploading!) over the course of the two days.

Its exciting to be working in the same physical space with so many people on Metamaps and we hope to run more of these in different locations in the future. Thanks to everyone who participated, you all made it happen +Malcolm Ocean +Alessandro Marin +John Meade +Raymon Johnstone +Robert Best +Janet Barrett  +Kevin Hiepleh +Danielle Thompson!

Also thanks to REAP for their ongoing support in sponsoring the hackathon!
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Allllright, we've got a new update live to Metamaps! There's a whole bunch of little usability improvements that will make mapping feel lots smoother, as well as adding a couple of new features that hint at what we're starting to open up in terms of usability!

Here's a shortlist of the changes:

 - Metacode set changing is now on maps, and comes pre-loaded with some initial sets
 - Real-time functionality improved, now you can see who else is on the same map
 - Cheat sheet reorganized and updated
 - smoother topic card layout and editing
 - smoother synapse card text editing
 - search now scrolls, no longer limits search results
 - centering in topic view via one click
 - metacode spinner autocomplete behavior ironed out
 - ...a host of other small UX issues and bugs

In the coming weeks, we'll be rolling out new metacodes and new metacode sets, which can vastly expand the mapping capability, with the intention of eventually opening it up for everyone to be able to create your own metacode sets.

What's also very exciting to us is the real-time mapping functionality that now shows  you who else is on the map, and who is with you in realtime. This is just the beginning of enabling robust collaboration features to mapping.

Give it a spin, and let us know what you think!

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Really incredible set of representational glyphs...#metacodes

"The symbols are traditional drawings, originally created by The Akan of Ghana and The Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa since the early 1800’s. The symbols are a representation of distinct philosophies, proverbs, beliefs and history. Adinkra symbols are used to visually communicate evocative messages that represent wisdom; norms, culture and ideals entrenched in the Ghanaian society."

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I am super stoked to share that +Connor Turland, +Marija Coneva and I have been accepted into the Imagination Catalyst accelerator from +OCAD University in Toronto!! Imagination Catalyst is a year-long accelerator program which will help us get to the next stage of development on Veqtor, and all that relates to our work. They will provide us with mentorship, office space, relationships and access to OCAD's labs and materials!

OCAD is Canada's "university of imagination. Founded in 1876, we're dedicated to art and design education, practice and research." This is only Imagination Catalyst 2nd year in existence. I think it's really exciting to build connections between OCAD and the University of Waterloo (which has also been supporting our work), as well as all the incredible people and projects who have been accepted in our cohort. We can't wait to get to know the Toronto community better as well as everyone at OCAD!

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A really interesting approach from one of the major mindmapping platforms out there - an ambassador program for expert mappers, consultants, and trainers to connect with others and offer their mapping services. I'm not sure that I would frame it exactly as they have here, but what it points to is something important - platforms like Mindmeister and can be used by a community as a tool in their own practices and services.

Definitely something we're keeping in mind on the future horizon!

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Just thought I'd like to share a fun piece of news - as we posted here before, we were showcased at Toronto Digifest along with 40 other projects, representing 13 universities across Ontario.

There were six categories, including mixed media, interactive, animation & gaming, and social innovation. We fell into the social innovation category :-)

Turns out we took home the award for "Best Overall Project" out of all 40 projects! This is really encouraging for our team as the value that brings to the web is getting so much clearer.

We're grateful to the University of Waterloo and especially David Goodwin, Diane Williamson and the team at REAP for supporting us to make this happen.

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Here's a spring update on the state of the project and network - in it you can find some presentations that give an overview of the current state of our work - I'm very excited for the directionality our development is following, both technically and as a community!

We've been working on multiple fronts simultaneously within this community - alternative enterprise/open value network infrastructure, computational information architecture, intuitive UX design, sensemaking frameworks, etc. etc. :-)

 We're getting to the place where each of these things is clearly defined, and i'm happy to share some of the outputs of that work with you!
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